Senator Phillips-Hill E-Newsletter

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In this update:

  • Forever Remembering 9/11: A Promise to Never Forget
  • Expanding Career Pathways: York College and Pennsylvania Auditor General Join Forces
  • Senate Approves Bill to Improve Workforce Development Programs
  • Bill to Improve Early Literacy Receives Senate Support
  • Streamlining Travel Insurance in PA
  • Senate Votes to Expand Access to Benefits for Disabled Veterans
  • Jumpstart Your Child’s Education Savings
  • Peach Bottom Township: PECO Community Meeting Next Week
  • Antlerless Deer Licenses for Sale Starting June 24
  • Thank You for Another Great Coffee and Conversation!
  • June is Pet Preparedness Month
  • Upcoming PennDOT Maintenance Projects
  • On Deck

Honoring the Legacy of 9/11: A Promise to Never Forget

This week the governor signed Act 25 of 2024 into law, which will provide schools with a model curriculum to teach about the events and significance of Sept. 11, 2001. My bill, was amended into the final legislation that became law.

Many of today’s high school students, and even some of our newer teachers, were not alive during 9/11. This law ensures our schools have the resources to cover the events leading up to, during, and after that day, including the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the crash of United Airlines Flight 93. The materials will also address our country’s response and the global impact.

This is not a mandate on our schools, but a guide to help teachers and administrators develop comprehensive curricula. Our world changed drastically on that fateful day, and it is crucial we never forget its lasting impact on American history and foreign policy.

The Department of Education has one year to make these materials available.

You can read more about this effort here. You can watch my comments here.

Expanding Career Pathways: York College and Pennsylvania Auditor General Join Forces  

This week, I was pleased to join and announce a significant partnership between York College’s President, Dr. Thomas Burns, and Pennsylvania Auditor General, Tim DeFoor. This collaboration was sparked by General DeFoor’s initiative to launch an intern-to-hire program with public universities, aimed at filling critical vacancies in his department.

President Burns, steadfast in his dedication to enhancing career opportunities for students, has been proactive in aligning York College with local employers to address workforce needs effectively. Together, they have established a first-in-the-state program that uniquely partners York College with the Commonwealth to bridge workforce gaps. Under the agreement, employees who work at the Auditor General’s department will be eligible for a tuition break at York College for master’s level courses. Additionally, dependents of employees at the Auditor General’s department will be eligible for tuition breaks. You can read more about this set up here. We also celebrated Cade Ham, who is the first York College graduate to complete the Auditor General’s “Intern-to-Hire” program. Cade is now a full-time employee with the Auditor General as an Auditor 1 under the Bureau of County Audits.

I commend President Burns and General DeFoor for their leadership in creating this innovative program, which promises to benefit current and future graduates of York College by preparing them for successful careers right here in our community.

This partnership highlights the power of collaboration in creating meaningful opportunities and addressing local workforce challenges. As this initiative progresses, I look forward to seeing its positive impact on Pennsylvania’s educational and economic landscape.

You can watch the event here and find my remarks here.

Senate Approves Bill to Improve Workforce Development Programs

The Senate passed legislation to make Pennsylvania more attractive to employers and improve workforce development programs.

Senate Bill 761 would require the Department of Labor and Industry and the Center for Workforce Information and Analysis to share data that is already collected with local workforce development boards in a timely fashion. Delayed information and data sharing limit these boards in efficiently analyzing programs and policy. Having access to workforce data on wages, new hires and unemployment claimants enables programs to be modified so Pennsylvanians can succeed professionally.

The bill also calls for technical assistance and support for the improved data sharing model so local workforce development boards can use the information.

Bill to Improve Early Literacy Receives Senate Support 

To give students the best chance of success, the Senate passed a bill that would improve early literacy using a three-pronged approach.

Senate Bill 801 would:

  • Bolster reading instruction with evidence-based reading curricula,
  • Identify struggling readers via universal screening within the first 30 days of school and
  • Use screening data to implement intervention plans to prevent children from falling behind.

Half of Pennsylvania’s fourth grade students read below their grade level. Studies show that childhood reading difficulties can produce long-term effects and dramatically impact someone’s ability to succeed.

Streamlining Travel Insurance in PA 

My legislation designed to streamline and improve travel insurance in Pennsylvania has been signed into law. This measure aims to boost consumer confidence by introducing important protections.

As more Pennsylvanians travel in a post-pandemic world, Act 28 of 2024 brings transparency to fees and pricing in travel insurance. It ensures clear differentiation between insurance and assistance services, empowering consumers with detailed policy features and pricing breakdowns upon request.

Effective in 90 days, this law marks a significant step toward fairer and more informed travel insurance practices statewide.

Senate Votes to Expand Access to Benefits for Disabled Veterans

Legislation to exempt 100% of disabled veterans’ benefit payments from income calculations for any commonwealth programs or benefits received Senate support.

Senate Bill 126 would ensure veterans who receive disability compensation would not have those payments counted against them when applying to programs such as the Real Estate Property Tax Exemption, Education Gratuity Program, Veterans Temporary Assistance Program and Military Relief Assistance Program.

The bill would also extend the exclusion of the veterans’ compensation benefits to their unmarried surviving spouses.

Jumpstart Your Child’s Education Savings 

Saving for your child’s education can be daunting, but Keystone Scholars can jumpstart education savings for Pennsylvania children.

The first program of its kind in the country, Keystone Scholars provides a $100 investment for post-high school education for every child born in Pennsylvania since Jan. 1, 2019. It can be used to pay for collegiate studies, technical school training and apprenticeship programs. Claim your child’s money, which is funded by surplus investment earnings from the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan.

Opening a companion PA 529 College and Career Savings Program account can also help to save for education-related expenses. PA 529 accounts have tax advantages and do not impact eligibility for Pennsylvania state financial aid.

Peach Bottom Township: PECO Community Meeting Next Week

Mark your calendars! PECO will be hosting a community meeting to discuss their upcoming system upgrade project.

Date: Tuesday, June 25
Time: 6-8 p.m.
Location: Delta-Peach Bottom Township Elementary School, All Purpose Room/Gym, 1081 Atom Road, Delta, PA 17314

This is your chance to meet the Subject Matter Experts, ask questions, and learn more about how this project will impact our community. Don’t miss out on this important opportunity.

For more information, visit PECO’s project information page.

Antlerless Deer Licenses for Sale Starting June 24  

For wildlife management units (WMUs) 1B, 2G and 3A, antlerless deer licenses go on sale for residents Monday, June 24, at 8 a.m. Licenses for residents of all other WMUs go on sale Thursday, June 27, at 8 a.m. They will be guaranteed until July 7. Unsold licenses will be available for nonresidents on July 8 at 8 a.m.

One tag will be available per hunter in the first round of sales. The second round of sales begins July 22 at 8 a.m. for residents and nonresidents alike on a first come, first served basis. Read more about all four rounds of license purchase.

Resident antlerless deer licenses cost $6.97, and nonresident antlerless deer licenses cost $26.97. Purchase a license online or in-store at a license issuing agent.

Thank You for Another Great Coffee and Conversation! 

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who joined me during my Coffee and Conversation earlier today! Your active participation made our time together engaging and meaningful. A special shoutout to Belmont Bean Co. for hosting and providing a warm atmosphere.

Our conversation was insightful, and I greatly appreciate the opportunity to connect with each of you. I look forward to more discussions in the future. Stay tuned for details on my upcoming events!

June is Pet Preparedness Month 

Just as it’s important to have an emergency plan for our family, it’s also smart to think ahead for our pets so they can be safe even in unforeseen circumstances. Here are some steps to take:

  • Make a plan. Have an evacuation plan because many shelters and hotels do not allow pets. Have your pet microchipped, and make sure to keep your address and phone number up-to-date.
  • Build a pet emergency kit. Think about the basics for survival, such as food and water. Have two kits: one larger kit if you’re sheltering in place and a lightweight version if you need to evacuate.
  • Stay informed. Bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pay attention to wireless emergency alerts for local alerts and warnings. Evacuate or shelter in place when recommended.

Learn more about how to make sure your pets are prepared and protected.

Upcoming PennDOT Maintenance Projects

Most weeks, PennDOT shares with me its maintenance schedule for the week ahead. When it becomes available, you can view the full list here to see if it will impact you and your family.

On Deck

The Senate of Pennsylvania reconvenes on Monday, June 24, at 1 p.m. You can watch all of the Senate votes and view our agenda here.


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